A new treaty process offers hope to end plastic pollution – Nature.com

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Nature Reviews Earth & Environment volume 3pages 726–727 (2022)
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The development of a global legally binding treaty by the UN to end plastic pollution is underway. To be effective, the global treaty requires new levels of transparency, disclosure and cooperation to support evidence-based policymaking that avoids the fragmented and reactionary policies of the past.
Plastic is extremely useful, but mismanagement has led to a global pollution crisis that is exacerbating climate change1 and biodiversity loss2, and compromising national development pathways3. A complete transformation to a circular plastics economy is needed to radically reduce or eliminate plastic pollution while supporting necessary use4. However, plastic value chains typically pass-through multiple jurisdictions with different laws, rules and norms. At best, country-specific policies, such as bans on specific plastic products, do not have the reach to meaningfully affect global drivers of plastic pollution. At worst, they create international legal and policy inconsistencies that push plastic waste to places with the least capacity to deal with it safely. Indeed, it is estimated that current commitments to tackle plastic pollution will only decrease plastic entering the environment by approximately 7% by 2040 compared to business as usual5. Here we discuss the role that a forthcoming global treaty by the UN can have in ending plastic pollution.
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The authors have received funding from UNEP and the Flotilla Foundation for plastic policy research. The authors would like to thank the University of Portsmouth Revolution Plastics research initiative for supporting this work.
Global Plastics Policy Centre, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Antaya March, Keiron P. Roberts & Stephen Fletcher
School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Antaya March & Stephen Fletcher
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Keiron P. Roberts
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Correspondence to Antaya March.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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March, A., Roberts, K.P. & Fletcher, S. A new treaty process offers hope to end plastic pollution. Nat Rev Earth Environ 3, 726–727 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-022-00361-1
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-022-00361-1
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